Well, at least as far as I can tell, this will rank as the top mistaken rebranding effort ever. The new CMO of Flextronics, Michael Mendenhall, has decided the company should rebrand itself as Flex. I do not care that he was CMO for HP (a company that has seen an amazing decline in its stature over the last few decades, and for sure during his tenure), or that he spent 17 years at Walt Disney. This is just dumb in my opinion. (And Flex.com is already taken.)
Why are they doing this? Well, I could be cynical and say that is what most CMOs do when the come on board, and Mr. Mendenhall has been there since last October, so it’s time. But when asked this question he answered: “… we found that the “tronics” part of Flextronics was dated relative to the corporate strategy of the company, and it left people thinking we were still an electronics manufacturing company.”
And you think that changing the company’s name to Flex fixes that? Seriously? I will accept that Flextronics, a $26B supply chain solutions company, is no longer just a contract manufacturer. I don’t think they have been “just a contract manufacturer” in most anyone’s mind since the late 90s, or for sure the early part of this century.
How on earth can one really believe that Flex is a better name than Flextronics for what they do? And if one wants to argue that the position of Flextronics is not valid and it truly needs to be repositioned, which I seriously doubt, why pick a name so close to the old one, and so non-useful? Are they now an exercise company?
They have become a $26B company with the name Flextronics. Is Flex going to take them to the next level? Who could seriously think that?
While I am not ready to state that this effort will damage the company, I do believe it is another example of LARGE sums of money being spent (not invested) by a CMO concerned with action over results. When all is said and done, I believe the only thing they will have to show for this effort is a smaller bottom-line and some very happy agencies.
And we wonder why the C-Suite does not taking Marketing seriously.